The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Energy, Michael Colreavy TD, has called on the government to introduce a moratorium on the construction of wind farms pending the framing of a full range of regulations. The Sligo-North Leitrim TD was speaking in a debate this evening on newly published guidelines for wind farms .
Deputy Colreavy said: “Given the likelihood of a major wind farm development in the midlands as part of an energy export deal with Britain, it is vital that all of these issues are subject to consultation and that the views of local communities are taken into account. Rather than the Department making up its own mind and proceeding as it intended to do in the first instance.
“It is envisaged that 1700 turbines will be built by 2020 to meet the export requirements indicated in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Minister Rabbitte. That is a massive undertaking and one that has generated considerable debate and opposition in the midlands.
“My party has a number of issues with the proposal. We first of all believe that the call for submissions on the revised guidelines is not sufficient. What we need are proper regulations, not guidelines. And that these be drawn up after a full consultation and the consideration of all of the evidence on noise and proximity and all the other issues.
“We believe that there ought to be a moratorium on wind farms until such regulations have been framed.
“I would also have serious concerns that it is proposed to export 5000 Mega Watts to Britain before this state has met its own targets for the generation of electricity from wind and other renewables. Indeed I would question the wisdom of exporting any electricity until we have attained self-sufficiency.
“There is a massive potential for this island to become a major energy exporter from wind and hydro as these technologies develop and grow in capacity. But we would be foolish to start to export while we are still so overwhelmingly dependent, at 90%, on imported fossil fuels.”